What we helped with

The client

SEM is an environmentally conscious sustainability partner in wastewater and effluent treatment.

Spanning a range of industries from energy to agriculture, they embrace and pioneer disruptive new technologies that process co-products from ‘waste’ streams, create operational efficiencies and deliver innovative water treatment solutions.

Fuelled by the drive to create a waste-free, circular economy in the future, SEM helps both businesses – and the environments they inhabit – to flourish.


The brief

Since launching SEM in 2016, co-founders John Jones and Grant Leslie have steered the company from a small start-up in the North-east of Scotland, to a global firm with a foothold in some of the world’s industrial hubs including the US and the Middle East.

Grant and John approached us in 2018. They had been flying under the radar while developing their pioneering technological solutions for wastewater and effluent treatment across a number of industrial sectors. Appetite for these solutions was voracious – contracts were signed, projects deployed, and the team bolstered with new members of staff. With a new Chief Technology Officer on board in Sandy Beveridge, they felt it was time to craft and build SEM’s public profile across all platforms: website, social media and press.

They were keen to raise awareness of their service offering across the various sectors in which they work: agriculture, energy, marine, food and drink and utilities. Key threads to promote in the strategy would be: the SEM team of innovative scientists, entrepreneurs and tech visionaries; the tech itself and the challenges it can resolve for businesses, and of course the firm’s underpinning ethos.


The work

Brand development

True to our ethos of ‘starting at the end’ we spent time doing the groundwork with the SEM team. It was crucial for us to understand their aims and objectives, as well as their story, personality and values, so that we could weave this messaging through everything we do.

Eilidh worked with Mark Gordon of creative agency, Form Digital, to deliver a brand workshop, aimed at eliciting the firm’s key values, messages and underpinning mission and vision. This would be crucial to informing the overall strategy, as well as the individual projects.

SEM are passionate about harnessing nature, re-purposing what would traditionally have been seen as by-products, and working collaboratively with their clients to protect and preserve the environment. However, they are aware that in the real world, compromises are sometimes required, while always retaining the end-goal in sight. It’s their USP – they are themselves a business, and they help other businesses to thrive, but in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way. This was the key message they wanted to permeate all communications.


Marketing collateral

With a range of pioneering technological solutions to promote across several different sectors, there was always going to be a requirement for a significant amount of marketing collateral. From their next generation dissolved air flotation system, to their sustainable chemical solutions, we worked with the key members of the SEM team, wrote the copy, and liaised with the amazing designers at FORM Digital to produce a range of digital and print brochures.


Website copy

SEM’s senior management team identified a need for their website to be radically re-designed and re-written to reflect the growth and ambition of the business.

We worked with the teams at SEM and FORM Digital to devise the thematic structure and write the copy for the new website, which went live in 2018.

Underpinned by the strapline ‘Environmental with shades of green’, the new website sought to reflect the personality and the ethos of SEM, while simultaneously showcasing the firm’s technology and services for resolving industry challenges surrounding ‘waste’ and waste-water.


Social media

Working closely with SEM’s in-house marketing team, we developed a number of overall campaign strategies, and supported them in establishing and maintaining the brand’s tone across all communications. One notable example of this collaboration is the rolling out of SEM’s social media campaign to raise awareness of their business cards, made from seeded paper. The Bold St team carried out research, devised an overall plan / strategy, and created the strapline – Plan(t) a revolution – as well as crafted the initial post to set the tone for the campaign. To date, engagement has been high and overwhelmingly positive.


Awards applications

In 2019 we supported SEM extensively with their application for the Elevator awards. We helped to draft their initial application, which saw them shortlisted as finalists in the Business Success under 3 years category. We went on to provide advice and support in creating the marketing collateral required for the final – everything from a video testimonial to documents supporting their application. All the hard work paid off and SEM were crowned the winners in their category at a glittering dinner, attended by a host of key personnel from the North-east’s business world.


Press releases and features

Having done all the groundwork in establishing the brand’s tone and key messages across a significant volume of marketing collateral, both SEM and the Bold St team felt the time was right to begin a dialogue with the local and national business media. Their first foray was a year in review piece, which was well covered locally. We followed that with a press release announcing SEM’s launch into the Middle East market. This story garnered local, national and international coverage, being picked up by The Scotsman as well as a number of news outlets in the Middle East.


The impact

We develop and market many pioneering technologies and solutions which are geared towards resolving several industry challenges. Articulating each these clearly and concisely, while targeting communications specifically for each individual market, was a challenge. Bold St cut right through this, and saw the universal value proposition across our solutions, which was fantastic. We worked closely with them, as well as engaging with industry stakeholders, to craft a tone of voice that very much resonated with our markets. This yielded a huge increase in engagement for us, which has definitely been the most significant impact of our relationship with Bold St Media.


“What’s more the increased exposure across a variety of channels has been great for SEM – we have been approached by many new contacts outwith our typical (and ever-growing) networks. As a result of the publicity Bold St has generated in both existing and new markets, we have been able to take advantage of new opportunities, supporting our international growth across several industry sectors.”

Grant Leslie, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of SEM


SEM senior management team: Sandy Beveridge, Grant Leslie and John Jones

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